The Classic J-Pop Review is all about bringing Japanese music journalism to English language audiences. Our primary goals are to review Japanese albums from the 1970s to now and provide exclusive interviews with Japanese musicians.
But why am I the expert? Through my years of searching the Internet for classic J-Pop, I’ve discovered that very few reviews (if any) for this music exist in English. I believe there remains tremendous value in examining the musical components of artists such as Akiko Yano, Miharu Koshi, Princess Princess, and more.
In college, I spent most of my time listening to music, researching the innovators of modern music (The Beatles, David Bowie, Pink Flyod, etc.), and taking a variety of classes on rock/pop history. To fully appreciate Japanese music or any type of music, a foundation is key.
There’s a lot more to J-Pop than just pop. It’s a very broad term that includes a variety of musical genres, such as city pop, electronic, art pop, soundtrack, jazz, and rock. I use the term on this site because it is the most common phrase used for modern Japanese music (even if it’s not 100 percent accurate), as opposed the traditional music of the culture.
My first exposure to Japanese music was the Komani produced tracks by Be4U on the video game series Dance Dance Revolution over 10 years ago. This music is incredibly catchy, but lacked the musical variety of artists I would later find. J-Pop was something new and exciting for me, and like any newfound interest, I gobbled up the genre, listening to whatever I could find, ranging from anime opening tracks to idol groups such as AKB48 to city pop icons such as Ohtaki Eiichi (from the band Happy End).
Over time, I expanded my tastes beyond pop to include groups such as the Yellow Magic Orchestra and jazz musicians such as Jagatara. Each day, the search to find compelling Japanese artists continues, and my hope is to review some of the very best albums J-Pop (and beyond) has to offer.